Rapid City Fifth Grader Receives South Dakota Grandparent Essay Honors

Posted on 05/21/24 by Mary Michaels

AARP South Dakota congratulates the 2024 South Dakota Grandparent Essay Award Winner, Paisly Kading, a fifth grader from Rapid City.

Paisly was recognized in May at the South Dakota Retired School Personnel (SDRSP) Convention held in Watertown. She wrote her winning essay, Kindest Heart, about her late grandmother, Kimberly Conway.

The essay described how Paisley saw her grandmother “spread kindness like wildfire” with a smile compared to the warmth of the sun.

“One example,” wrote Paisley, “is she wouldn’t let anyone enter or exit her home without a hug and an ‘I love you.’”

She continued the essay with details about the smell of her grandmother’s freshly baked cookies, how she was the “taste-tester” when grandma cooked and how they would twirl around the kitchen singing songs. She said her grandmother was like the “peanut butter to my jelly.”

“She had a secret ingredient for everything she made,” wrote Paisley. “Extra love.”

Paisley wrote that even though she has many people she loves in her life, no one can replace her grandma. “My grandma is my inner voice.”

Attending the convention with Paisley were her parents, Ben and Lacy, as well as her grandfather Frank.

Since 2003, AARP South Dakota and the SDRSP have co-sponsored an annual Grandparent essay to encourage fifth graders across our state to celebrate the significant role their grandparents play in their lives. AARP South Dakota and the SD Retired School Personnel would like to thank all the fifth graders who submitted an essay and all the amazing grandparents who inspired them.

This story is provided by AARP South Dakota. Visit the AARP South Dakota page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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